About the Post

Author Information

J. PATRICK REDMOND was born and raised in southern Indiana and recently returned to his home state after sixteen years of living in South Florida and teaching for the Miami-Dade County Public School System. Presently he teaches English Composition at the University of Southern Indiana. Patrick holds a BA in English from Florida International University in Miami and an MFA in creative writing and literature from Stony Brook University in Southampton, New York. He is a contributing blogger for the Huffington Post, and his writing has appeared in the NOH8 Campaign blog, the Southampton Review, and in the Barnes & Noble Review’s Grin & Tonic. He is also the 2012 recipient of the Deborah Hecht Memorial Prize in Fiction. Some Go Hungry is his first novel, and when asked about it, Patrick says, “It’s about God, guns, gays, and green beans.” Additional information is available at jpatrickredmond.com.

Why, Sir, My Mother?

Dear Sir:

There are several ways in which I might respond to your email, the one you sent my mother asking would she ever have let her young sons go on an overnight camping trip with a gay scoutmaster.

My mother — a firecracker in her own right and from whom I got my spark — responded well. She responded as every proud mother of a gay son should. I see no need to usurp her words and make them my own. No, my approach is to ask you why?

Why would you send an unsolicited question such as this to my mother? What is your intent? What answer are you hoping to receive?

Why would you ask a 64-year-old woman a question about her young sons both of whom are now, respectively, 44 and 27 years of age?

Why is my mother’s opinion regarding scouting important? Neither of her sons were scouts.

Why, knowing your question could perhaps create conflict within her family, would you entertain and ultimately follow through in sending the email? Is your purpose to create disharmony? Is your intent malicious in nature?

Why do you care? Are you a current or former scoutmaster? Are you gay? Do you wish to recruit her as a potential den mother? (She would be a totally awesome scoutmaster; her smores kick ass! And boy can she tie a knot!)

Why, Sir, my mother?

Perhaps you know — you’ve known her many years — that she is a woman who at 16 was forced to work after school and weekends in her hometown drug store to help pay bills because her father lost his leg in a coal mining accident (he died her senior year of high school). You may also know my mother is a woman who married her high school sweetheart at 19, had a baby boy at 20, and that she’s a woman who ultimately chose to live as a single mother and not at the hands of an abusive husband; a woman fortunate enough to fall in love a second time, marry, and have another baby boy at age 38. She is a woman who has suffered the loss of older siblings, her home, and a family business. She’s a woman who is now caregiver and companion to her ailing 70-year-old husband, watching him slowly drown and  struggle for breath, suffering daily from the effects of Asbestosis knowing there’s nothing she can do but love him. A woman whose first-born son just happens to be gay.

So I ask again — Why, Sir, do you want to know if my mother would ever have let her young sons go on an overnight camping trip with a gay scoutmaster?



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